The REACH Certification
The European Regulation No. 1907/2006 of the European Parliament, in force since June 1st 2007, regulates the registration, the evaluation, the authorization and the restriction of chemicals (REACH) used in the production of a good. The term “chemicals” is not necessarily used for substances in test tubes, because they can be, not only in materials, mixtures, solvents, tinctures, additives and in other elements involved in the production process, but in furniture, in plastic objects, clothes and accessories. Therefore, the REACH certification interests a great range of companies that produce, export, import or use some chemicals in their process.
The Regulation combines a “high-level concern” to the carcinogenic substances, to the one that can cause genetic mutations or damage to the reproductive system, to the persistent, bio accumulative and toxic substances. Compared to the previous regulations, the REACH certification gives more responsibility to the producer and the exporter of chemicals (destined both to an internal and an external use) and to the importer of goods from Extra-EU Countries as well. Those companies have to demonstrate that the good is not a risk neither for the human health nor for the environment.
Those information about chemicals have to be reported by the companies during the supply chain in the clearest possible way. Moreover, in case the company produces or imports chemicals in large amounts in the European Union (above a ton per year), it must notify to the European Chemical Agency (ECHA). The latter and the member Countries value the risk levels on the single records and, if necessary, they can ban or limit the use of the hazardous chemicals.
The RoHS Certification
Also the RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances), RoHS 2 and RoHS 3 European Directives regulate the risk associated to the hazardous substances, but relatively to the electronic waste problem. Those Directives interest all the producers, importers and exporters of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE), that include a great range of goods such as I.T., telephony, small and large domestic appliances, light bulbs, toys, medical devices, and so on. The scope is as broad as the one of the REACH Regulation, but in that case, only the chemicals risk, used in the production process, is considered. In the RoHS Directives, also the substances contained in the goods are considered, since they are potentially hazardous for the customer and difficult to dispose, by the time the device becomes an e-waste.
The Directive No. 2002/95, called RoHS, which has been in force from 2006 until 2013, ensures the compliance with six restricted substances: cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead, mercury, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ether. The restrictions are still valid, but the dispositions have been updated with a more complete version, the Directive No. 2011/65, called RoHS 2 (in Italy D.Lgs No. 27/2014). RoHS 2 better specifies some definitions and adds other restrictions to the list. A further update, the Directive No. 2011/65 (RoHS 3), adds to the list the di-octylphthalate, the benzyl butyl phthalate, the dibutyl phthalate and the diisobutyl phthalate.
Compliance is necessary to the RoHS certification in order to obtain the CE marking. It is a hard work for companies, since they have to overlap the REACH and the RoHS restrictions and get information about substances used by their suppliers during the whole supply chain.